Acetylcholine and its Many Functions

The mental health begins to decline at a certain age. For some people, this is truly unacceptable because they need their brains to function as normal as they can. The nervous system is indeed an important part that could not be neglected, as people get older. Any age-associated diseases and mental disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will start to bring a mental decline, whether people like it or not. Through the years, scientists have executed clinical tests to understand the inner sanctums of our brains and the various supplements that make them tick. By the 1920s, neurotransmitters were discovered and the first type was named acetylcholine.

By definition, neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow transmission of messages or the communication between the hundreds of neurons in the nervous system. The first neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine, has many functions that contribute to the overall health of the brain. Its role is indeed a major one, considering that a loss of Acetylcholine could lead to the possibility of getting Alzheimer’s disease or other mental-related problems later in life. Here are some facts to take note about Acetylcholine:

Facilitator of Mental Functions

The main role of Acetylcholine involves the nerve transmissions from and to the
brain. It covers cognitive functions such as attention, memory, learning and mood. In some studies, the neurotransmitter is more associated with attention and focus. It helps the nerves relay the right messages to the brain and get it to focus on the desired thought, visual, sound, taste and other senses.

Essential Part of Mental Health

In further studies of the Alzheimer’s disease, there have been reports of a decrease in neurotransmitters, urging scientists to conclude that the loss of Acetylcholine has directly affected the mental decline of the brain. In order to counter some of the symptoms of the Alzheimer’s disease, medications with Acetylcholine have been used for treatment.

Participation in REM

REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement Sleep is considered the lightest phase of sleep. During this stage, flow of information is reduced from the hippocampus. With Norepinephrine and Acetylcholine at low levels, associational activity between the neocortex and other neocortical areas are increased. When the subject wakes up, the boost of Acetylcholine will improve memory acquisition and consolidation.

Stimulation of Muscles

Aside from brain functions, Acetylcholine is also responsible for the production of digestive juices in the stomach and pancreas. The neurotransmitters help transmit the message to the digestive organs when the body is accommodating food. Acetylcholine is responsible in stimulating the gastrointestinal muscles as food makes it way down to the digestive tract, ready to be broken down to food
molecules.

Those are some of the basic roles of Acetylcholine, which have astounded many scientists specializing in mental health. Given that the Acetylcholine levels are at a normal rate, the person will get to enjoy his or her healthy mental capacity longer.

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